Hellooooo summer! We will kick off the month with 4th of July celebrations, but there is much fun to be had throughout July. Lots of outdoor adventure awaits your family this month. You could find it touring Maryland farms, checking out awe-inspiring aquatic blooms, or enjoying area county fairs. But when your crew wants to beat the heat indoors, you could take them to enjoy several family-friendly theater productions in the area. Events related to American history, rockets, and other cultures will teach your kids a thing or two during their summer break. And don’t forget to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing! However you choose to spend your time on these long summer days, we hope that you have tons of fun making sunny memories with your family.
Now through August 18
The Cat in the Hat
Glen Echo, MD
Based on the Dr. Seuss classic, this play is sure to delight. From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the cat in the hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he is certainly fun to play with. And he turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mom find when she gets home?
Now through August 31
This summer visitors can travel back millions of years as the Smithsonian’s National Zoo presents a Dino Summer featuring two dinosaur experiences of prehistoric proportions. “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” is an experiential theater production featuring larger-than-life dinosaurs. Families can observe, meet, and interact with lifelike dinosaurs and other creatures during this 30-minute theatrical performance. You must purchase tickets for this show and it is recommended for kids 3 and over. “DinoRoars” is an outdoor exhibit of six massive animatronic dinosaurs, including a baby stegosaurus and an enormous T. rex measuring nearly 40 feet long. You can take a self-guided safari around the Zoo to meet dinosaurs that move, roar, and even spit water. This FREE attraction is open during regular Zoo hours. Check out the post written by our contributor, Allison Winter, for more information about this fun-filled family event.
Now through September 2
10am – 5pm
Infinite Space is the first major retrospective of the work of award-winning, Los-Angeles-based, Turkish-born artist Refik Anadol. It invites visitors to open their senses to the endless transformation and infinite possibilities at the intersection of man and machine. The immersive exhibition explores memories and dreams through the mind of a machine by using data sets ranging from human memories, photographs of Mars, cultural archives, and sea surface activity as data sculptures and digital paintings. This exhibit is recommended for people 6 years of age and older.
Baseball! Parades! American history! Fireworks! Check out our Guide to July 4th in Washington, DC for information about Independence Day events in and around the city.
July 4 – September 2
National Building Museum
This year, the National Building Museum’s annual summer interactive exhibition is called Lawn. This exhibition allows guests to unwind with quintessential summer activities while connecting to the design of the Museum. On the large, sloping green space, visitors can lounge on hammocks, enjoy refreshments, and play lawn games like croquet, bocce ball, and dominoes. At the top of the lawn is a scaffolding tower that reaches the height of the Museum’s third floor, offering never-before-seen views of the Great Hall. Audio elements have been installed that evoke time spent outdoors on a warm summer day: crickets chirping, bees buzzing, a lawnmower whirring in the distance. Kids and adults will be able to chase, collect, and release fireflies through an augmented reality game. It is strongly suggested that you buy tickets ahead of time to this highly popular exhibit. Tickets for July dates are currently on sale. Tickets for August dates will be released on July 15.
Exploring the Sky
Rock Creek Park
Join park rangers and volunteers from National Capital Astronomers to view planets, star clusters, and other space phenomena through the lens of telescopes. This informal program is free and open to all ages. This event will be canceled if there is rain or cloud cover.
Ice Cream at Historic Huntley
Huntley Meadows Park
Make and enjoy hand-cranked ice cream as Huntley’s Harris family may have done. Discover how the histories of ice cream and Huntley follow a similar path from elite luxury to family fare. A tour of the ice well and Historic Huntley House are included. The program at Historic Huntley runs from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $8 per person. Register online.
July 11, 18, and 25
Backyard Theater for Kids
9:30am & 11:30am
North Bethesda, MD
Spend your summer mornings with fun and engaging musical performances at the Strathmore. A variety of performers are scheduled, including jazz, folk, and steel pan. Pack a picnic and make a day of it. The shows are ideal for kids aged 3 to 8 years old. Tickets are required, but kids 2 and under are free.
10am – 6pm
Hillwood Estate and Museum
Celebrate Bastille Day with 18th Century French activities at the Hillwood Museum & Gardens. This family-friendly event aims to transport you to the French court of the 1700s with baroque music and dance performances, as well as a short play. You and your kids will learn courtly manners and play lawn games. Tickets can be purchased online. The event is free for children under 6 and children of active duty military.
USA/Alexandria’s Birthday Celebration
7pm – 10pm
Oronoco Bay Park
Celebrate America’s 243rd birthday and Alexandria’s 270th birthday along the Potomac waterfront at Oronoco Bay Park. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and a picnic. Attendees will enjoy live music by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, patriotic birthday cake, food vendors, and a dazzling fireworks display (which begins at 9:30pm). Admission is free.
July 13 – July 14
Lotus and Water Lily Festival
10am – 5pm
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is such a local treasure. Early summer mornings in late June through July offer breathtaking, Seuss-like lotus flowers and water lilies in full bloom. The Lotus and Water Lily Festival celebrates this time of year with international music and dance performances, games, storytelling, gardening workshops, and more. The event and parking are free and a free shuttle is provided from Kenilworth Park (see website for details). The Gardens are also accessible by public transportation and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail (it is a 20-minute bike ride from the Anacostia Skating Pavillion). Food will be on sale, but you are welcome to take a picnic.
Ready Jet Go!’s “One Small Step” Screening
National Air and Space Museum
Join us for a special screening of PBS’s Ready Jet Go!’s “One Small Step” special about the 50th Anniversary of the Moon landing. The program will include live music performances and will be followed by games and a meet-n-greet with Jet, the show’s costumed character; Dr. Amy Mainzer from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and Dr. Christyl Johnson from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The event is free, but pre-registration and tickets are required.
July 18 – July 20
Apollo 50 Festival
9am – 5pm (ends at 8pm on the 20th)
The National Mall between 4th and 7th Streets
Join the National Air and Space Museum and NASA for this outdoor celebration of the first Moon landing. At the Apollo 50 Festival’s stage and 20 tented displays, visitors can enjoy: hands-on exhibits and activities from exhibitors like NASA, Boeing, Raytheon, The LEGO Group, and PBS’s “Ready, Jet, Go!;” live performances on stage by Ready, Jet, Go! featuring costumed characters; and exciting speakers including Adam Savage, ISS astronauts, authors, and NASA scientists and engineers, with more special guests to be announced. The event is free to attend.
July 18 – September 7
Discover a whole new world at Disney’s Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical! From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy, and breathtaking spectacle. Best ticket availability is on weekdays and Sunday nights.
Model Rocket Contest and 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing
12pm – 4pm
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing at the annual National Association of Rocketry Headquarters Astro Modeling Section model rocket contest. Watch a narrated demonstration launch of models of historic NASA space vehicles, and then attempt to land your own model rocket on the “Moon.” Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the top youth and adult finishers. The contest is free and open to the public. On-site registration is required on the day of the contest. The first 200 registrants will receive a commemorative Moon landing giveaway
July 23 – July 28
Loudoun County Fair
9am – 10pm
Loudon County Fairground
There is something for everyone at this county fair. From a rodeo to a lawn mower race, and from demolition derbies to a petting zoo, your whole family will be entertained. Entertainers include a ninja troop, hypnotist, dog show, illusionist, the Mountain Road Band, and the children’s entertainers, Agracadabra. There is also an extensive arts and crafts exhibit. And of course, there is a carnival and all sorts of fair food, including a nightly dinner (think roast beef, green beans, and mashed potatoes). This county fair opens to the public at 9am and kids under 6 are free. The closing time is unclear, but the last acts begin at 9pm or 9:30pm each night.
July 25 & July 26
National Archives Learning Lab
11am – 12pm (Thursday) & 10:30am – 12:30pm (Friday)
Your family will take on the role of researchers and archivists for a day. During a hands-on simulation, you are invited to help the President’s communications director, Bob, prepare for a very special press conference. Families will work together to locate and analyze facsimile documents. This opportunity is a great way to explore history and learn more about the National Archives. The Rights and Responsibilities Learning Lab, scheduled for July 25th, is designed for children in grades 4 and under. The Constitution in Action Learning Lab, scheduled for July 26, is designed for children in grades 5 and up. The event is free, but reservations are required and must be made at least 24 hours in advance.
July 26 – July 28
Kaypi Peru Festival
10am – 5:30pm
National Museum of the American Indian
This three-day celebration will highlight Peru’s rich and diverse cultural heritage and traditional arts. Attendees can enjoy an art market, music and dance performances, hands-on activities for children, documentary screenings, and Peruvian cuisine. The festival is presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Peru.
Disney Pixar’s Coco: In Concert Live To Film
Wolf Trap Center for the Arts
This family-friendly, live-to-picture concert event features the National Symphony Orchestra playing the beautiful musical score of Coco, which won the 2017 Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. Produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, audience members will follow the story of a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who travels to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family. The film will be projected in HD onto big screens in-house and on the lawn. Tickets are available online.
July 27 – July 28
28th Annual Montgomery County Farm Tour and Harvest Sale
Times and Locations Vary
Montgomery County, MD
If you want to spend a family day down on the farm, consider wandering around the countryside during Montgomery County’s Farm Tour and Harvest Sale. This event promotes the county’s farms and encourages visitors to “start thinking fresh, local, seasonal” when making food choices. Summer-fresh produce, plants, and more will be available for purchase at participating farms. Some will have activities to entertain visitors such as hayrides, pony rides, and music. Nineteen farms will participate in this year’s event (19 on Saturday and 13 on Sunday). Check out this brochure for a list and map of participating farms.